Alicia Keys reveals she almost gave ‘If I Ain't Got You' to Christina Aguilera

'That's a good story'
September 18, 2020 6:45 p.m. EST
September 25, 2020 12:21 p.m. EST
As far as we’re concerned, Alicia Keys is a bonafide powerhouse. A legend in the R&B realm, Keys has spent years collecting Grammys (15, to be precise), acting, lending her industry expertise to The Voice panel, and advocating for women’s rights. But what if we told you, “If I Ain’t Got You” — one of her signature, soulful hits — almost went to someone else?In an interview with Stereogum, Keys opened up about her new album ALICIA, her evolution as both an artist and a woman, her work as an activist, motherhood, her acting career, and having “nothing to hide”. True to that theme, Keys revealed something none of us expected, “If I Ain’t Got You” nearly went to Christina Aguilera. Keys explained that the pair were on the same label at the time. “She reached out and was like, ‘Would you write something for me?’ And then it came through so many emails. What a voice! I know I could write something fire for her,” said Keys. “So time passed and I hadn’t written the song yet. And [the label] was like, “Do you have anything for Christina?’ I remember I had just recently written ‘If I Ain’t Got You.’”[video_embed id='2037245']WATCH: Alicia Keys tells us about her 'beautiful bond' with Swizz Beatz and her new album 'ALICIA'[/video_embed]Seemingly in the giving spirit, Keys suggested to her A&R that they play Aguilera “If I Ain’t Got You,” to which he quickly replied, “Are you f-ing crazy? We’re not giving her that song. Are you out of your mind?”At the time, Keys assumed she would simply write “a hundred more” songs just like it, and that Aguilera should hear it. “What’s the big deal?” she thought.RELATED: Alicia Keys throws Blake Shelton under the bus.Fortunately, Keys listened to the advice of her A&R and, instead of sending the soon-to-be hit from her The Diary of Alicia Keys album, she wrote "Impossible" with Aguilera in mind. Once the song came together, Keys joined Aguilera in the studio to cut the vocals and produce the song, and was quickly taken with the pop star’s rendition. "Impossible" ended up on Christina's 2002 album Stripped. “It was such a cool vibe for us to be able to work together during those times,” she revealed. “But I will never forget that I would have given away ‘If I Ain’t Got You.’ Isn’t that crazy? So that’s a good story.” A good story, indeed. In fact, it’s not the only story of this nature that has recently circulated in the media. Just last month, Ciara revealed on Level Up Radio that her chart-topping single “Goodies” almost went to Britney Spears.[video_embed id='2037878']WATCH: Brandy tells us what it was really like reuniting with Monica for Verzuz[/video_embed]

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